Tape Measure Tips and Tricks

A tape measure is one of the most common and useful tools a person can own. It’s small, easy to use, and functional. Even if you’re not a carpenter or DIYer, you’ll probably be able to figure out how to use it. However, this tool has many hidden features that make it more powerful than a roll of metal with spaced marks feels. 

We will discuss below the different tips and tricks on how to use a tape measure.

  1. Learn how to read the tape measure – A tape measure has a lot of tick marks, and understanding them is key to using it properly.
tape measure
  • 1 inch“ -Inches extend all the way across the tape and it has a big bold number announcing each inch. For beginners, this will likely be what you look at most
  • 1/2″: The half-inch marking is the second longest line in between the full-inch marks.
  • 1/4″: The quarter-inch markings are just a bit shorter than the half-inch mark and their four-quarter inches in one inch.
  • 1/8″: The eighth-inch markings are the second shortest markings.
  • 1/16”: The sixteenth-inch markings are the smallest and most precise form of measuring, but require you to look closely.
  1. Utilize the end hook opening– At the end of your tape measure is an opening that can be used to hook onto fasteners like a nail or screw. It is designed to stay on with tension but quickly come off if you ease up on the tension.
tape measure
  1. Draw straight lines – Hook the tab onto the end of the table or flat surface, hold it flat, and draw a straight line using a pencil. Simply think of it as a ruler while drawing  a line.
tape measure
  1. Use it for simple scribing – The metal clip is designed to be a bit rough for marking wood surfaces. Push it down and scratch it back and forth and you will have a wood mark without a pencil or marker making it convenient to use.
tape measure
  1. Extend in the air – Depending on the quality and width of the tape measure, you can potentially extend it 11 feet without reinforcement into the air with a fat max. That means you don’t need another person to hold it up or secure it onto a fastener, but can just hold it up!.
tape measure

Buy The Right Length & Width

tape measure

Tape measures come in different lengths and widths and it’s ideal to buy the one that fits your needs. For example, if you’re working in a construction field, then getting a 25-foot tape is a requirement- maybe longer. However, for simple home projects like hanging a picture frame on the wall, a 16 footer will do the trick. For width, the general sizes are between a quarter-inch which will give around 2 feet of unsupported reach, to 1.5 inches for 11 feet on a fat max. Most standard tapes like a 20 footer are about 1 inch wide giving about 7 feet of the range which is more than enough for most people.

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